Gear & Equipment
Adding the Eezi-Awn Roof Top Tent: What Women Think
- Category: Gear
- on Mon Jul 13, 2009
- by Brooke Stephens, Photos by Mark Stephens on Mon Jul 13, 2009 - (2) Comments
Our Eezi-Awn Roof Tent Is a Cool, Comfortable, and Convenient Home on The Road
When Mark first pitched the idea to me about buying a roof-top tent for our (my) Frontier, it went something like: "we wouldn't have to pound in tent stakes anymore. The set-up on this thing is so easy...you can open it in a minute and a half. Just think, too, we would be up off the ground, out of the dirt, on a 4 inch mattress. Leopard print!"
He should have saved his breath...he had me at "tent stakes"
We've had our Frontier going on 4 years. It was always the intention to make the truck our trail-ready and capable vacation machine. As my daily driver, though, we have to balance our 4 x 4 modifications with the ability to use the truck as my baby-toting, grocery-store-going mom-mobile. With all this in mind, Mark always works hard to include me in decision-making about our ongoing truck modifications. The Eezi-Awn roof-top tent was one of the first, and if you ask me as the female counterpart of the Stephens traveling team, one of the best to date.
Our truck mods have 4 basic purposes: safety (to ourselves and the vehicle), comfort, convenience, and just-too-cool stuff. Breaking them down this way can help you set a budget and prioritize your traveling needs. As you know, once you have a child or children, discretionary income drops substantially. Budget your modifications based on how you plan to travel: what is most necessary to make your family's vacation safe and comfortable?
As a parent, of course the safety additions (first-aid equipment, tires, vehicle recovery gear, rock sliders, skid-plates, winch) should take some precedence in your thought and initial spending. Now, guys, I know you like to spin this. If you try to argue with me that an Engel refrigerator is for safety, I'll slap you silly... In all seriousness, though, don't forget about doing things to make your back-country camping trips more comfortable. Comfort and convenience allows you to stay in the outdoors longer, gets you away from crowds to more remote locations, and gives you more free time with each other, which is the why we go in the first place.
"Anything that makes your family comfortable is FAIR GAME."
I would classify the Eezi-Awn tent as a triple-whammy of comfort, convenience, and cool. If you read Mark's review on the 'Frontier' page about this tent, you'll get all the good details. The quality craftsmanship has seen this tent through wind and rain, as well as plenty of beating sun. And, its cool safari look when it is erected makes a great conversation starter.
Once, setting the tent up at dusk in rural Mexico, we drew a crowd of over 20 villagers to see the gringos and their 'treehouse'. Some helpful locals in town had instructed us that the best place to set up camp was the school soccer field adjacent to the lake. As the curious folks of all ages crept closer and grew in number, the fearful thought entered my mind that perhaps we were about to get shooed off for camping in the way of an evening football match. I needn't have worried: they were just gathering to see our camp and practice their English. In fact, they were a model of rural village hospitality. After half an hour full of smiles, nods, and broken conversation, we received a dozen fresh, warm corn tortillas and an invitation to breakfast the following morning.
Roughing It VS Enjoying It
Most people I've seen that avoid "camping" are doing so under the impression that you have to chisel down to the bare minimum: no shower, just a therma-rest and sleeping bag in your tent, freeze-dried food, and nothing to start your fire with except cotton balls, a knife, and flint. This low-impact, minimalistic camping is needed for backpacking, the military, or survival training. But, if you are vehicle dependent in your travel anyway, might as well make the most of your SUV's space. Bring a comfy camp chair, a potty tent, a blow-up air mattress, or a fan if that helps you sleep. Anything that makes your family comfortable is FAIR GAME. I even know of guys whose set-up includes a kitchen sink! (Although, you would have to be pulling an extra 4-wheel drive trailer for that one, and that is another topic for another day...)
Interior and Exterior Pictures Eezi-Awn Roof Tent
So, why do we even leave home if we are just trying to make our time on the road feel more comfortable and 'homey'? Well, it's for the moments you can't get from your DVD player at home. It's for the thud of a moose plodding by our camp, and for a few moments of adult conversation around a campfire after the kids are down, and for seeing our daughter learn how to walk on uneven terrain and to use her imagination with Samantha, her older cousin. Making a comfortable home on the road, with the help of our Eezi-Awn tent and a few other comforts we review on this website, gives our travels the potential for greater length of time, greater depth of discovery, and greater photographs out in the wide-open spaces.